Jean-Baptiste Santerre: Suzanne au bain (1704)

Quite in contrast to all the previous treatments of this subject, Jean-Baptiste Santerre’s Susanna is little more than a baigneuse. There is no drama, the elders are hidden in the shadows, this hardly counts as a history painting. Again unlike the previous treatments, Santerre avoids any overt nudity, which may be due to the somewhat pietistic atmosphere of the aging Louis XIV’s court.

Jean-Baptiste Santerre: Adam et Eve au milieu du paradis terrestre

When this painting was first exhibited in 1717, it caused a great scandal, not because it was the regent, Philippe d’Orléans, and his mistress Marie-Madeleine de la Vieuville who had sat for Adam and Eve, but because Jean-Baptiste Santerre had originally painted them without navels. He was an ardent supporter of the so-called dogme de l’anomphalie or anomphalisme, which seems to be restricted to France. The navels that you see now were probably added by another painter, Santerre died soon afterwards.

In January 2005, the painting was sold in an auction for $276,800 by Doyle New York, who still keep a description page with many details.

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